The Black Lives Matter activist movement arose in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin trial. The movement began through the copious use and spread of the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter on social media platforms, including Twitter and Facebook. Recently, the Black Lives Matter movement has been engaging in political disruptions, seeking to draw national attention.
Here are seven (7) instances of #blacklivesmatter interrupting political campaigns:
#1 | Phoenix, Bernie Sanders & Martin O’Malley (July 18, 2015)
“Black Lives Matter” demonstrators entered a Netroots Nation forum featuring Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley in Phoenix and began chanting slogans. Sanders tried to address the crowd of roughly 3,000 but many of the protesters shouted at him and disrupted his remarks. Disruption created an awkward dilemma, so the forums moderator gave the protestors stage time.
#2 | Seattle, Bernie Sanders (August 8, 2015)
At another Sanders speaking event in Seattle, two women approached the podium just as Sanders began addressing the crowd of several thousand, and demanded the microphone. Sanders stepped aside, and one woman got into an argument with an organizer, shouting “We are angry!” At one point there was a struggle as event organizers tried to regain control, before they called the speech off. Sanders shook hands with the crowd as he left the event, which was a Social Security and Medicare celebration.
#3 | Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti Town Hall (October 19, 2015): Video here.
A group of Black Lives Matter protesters “attended” a town hall meeting in South Los Angeles at Holman United Methodist Church. The tension spilled outside the church as several protesters attempted to block Garcetti’s car as he left the church.
#4 | North Las Vegas, Jeb Bush (August 12, 2015)
Jeb Bush’s town hall meeting in Las Vegas ended abruptly after Black Lives Matter protesters clashed with the candidate’s supporters and two protesters were kicked out of the event. Bush met privately with members of the Black Lives Matter movement prior to the scheduled town hall, according to his campaign, although they would not confirm if the activists who interrupted Bush were the same activists he had met with.
#5 | Cleveland, OH Hilary Clinton Speech (August 27, 2015)
Black Lives Matters demonstrators shouting “say her name” disrupted a Hillary Clinton campaign stop in Cleveland on Thursday. The two women called on Clinton to “divest from private prisons and invest in the liberation of black transgender women.”
#6 | DC mayor Murial Bowser (August 27, 2015)
In a speech where D.C. Mayor Murial Bowser planned to announce a $15 million plan to combat the rising murder rate, Black Lives Matter activists disrupt Bowser’s speech. Protesters linked to the nationwide movement that has mobilized over allegations of police misconduct erupted at her first mention of putting more officers on the streets. Community activists quickly joined the chants of “Black Lives Matter” with their own demands for jobs and recreation centers. Bowser fought back, at times acknowledging the voices of dissent and at other times simply raising her voice over the roar. “I will not be shouted down or scared away,” she said as her supporters stood and cheered over the din of protest, effectively splitting the room into opposing sides.
#7 | Atlanta, Hilary Clinton (October 30, 2015): Video here.
A few minutes into her speech at an HBCU, protestors interrupted her with chants of “Black Lives Matter.” Clinton tried to ignore the protesters and shout her remarks over them. “Unfortunately, rhetoric DOES NOT save us, nor does it give confidence to black voters that we can trust Hillary to prioritize the necessity of ensuring our safety,” the group said. “We’ve been waiting for weeks to see the platform that addresses these issues from Hillary Clinton’s campaign. We will wait no more.” Clinton went on finishing her speech — which focused on criminal justice reform and race — to sizable applause from the crowd.